Every year, hundreds of cats are being left behind when people relocate to another country. The Travelling Cat Project is a collective effort to demystify international cat travel.
Hopefully, by sharing our stories, it will encourage people to relocate with their cat(s).
We believe if you manage to move your personal belongings to a new country, you SHOULD BE able to move your cat(s) with you.
For a full of list of information and stories, please click here.
Hong Kong to Paris
Myself – Alice Chau Ginguene
1. Did you use an agent?
2. What kind of work did you have to do with vet before your cat was cleared for travelling?
I needed to go to the vet to get rabies shot for Larmlarm and a health certificate before departure. After getting the health certificate, I needed to make an appointment with the Government Veterinary Officer to counter-sign to certify the vet’s signature.
3. Was there other paperwork you had to do?
Yes. Since Larmlarm had another name when I adopted him from the shelter. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries needed me to write an affidavit to say the two names belonged to the same cat.
4. How did you travel to your destination? Which carrier did you use?
I travelled with Korean Air, because I wanted Larmlarm to travel with me in cabin. He was only 6 months old. I didn’t feel comfortable for him to be in the cargo.
5. How did you book your cat with your carrier? Any specific requirements?
Since I travelled with him in cabin, I needed to contact the airline in advance to arrange as they only allow one pet per flight. I also needed to pay a fee as he is considered to be ‘extra baggage’. They do have a specific measurement regarding the cat carrier. Also, it is compulsory for the carrier to have a water bottle, but the cat is not allowed to have food during the flight.
6. How did you prepare your cat box?
I prepared the water bottle and his toys.
7. What were the logistics on travel day?
I arrived at the airport early to allow some time in case there was any issue at Customs. I went through Customs in Hong Kong, they looked at the vaccination record and the health certificate from my vet and the Government Veterinary Officer. Then I went straight to the gate to wait. That’s all.
We had a transit flight through Seoul. There was 8 hours between flights, so we checked into a transit hotel in the airport to rest a bit.
But during the flight from Hong Kong to Seoul, there was this Hong Kong woman complaining about the cat. She was convinced she could smell the cat! Crazy, I know! The cabin manager freaked out and asked me if I would put the cat in the storage cupboard! I said, ‘Of course not! Babies smell too! Why don’t you put the babies in storage then? My cat has his ticket! If the lady has a problem, you should move the lady, not me, not my cat, coz we are happy where we are.’
They backed off.
Ah well, there is always one cat hater anywhere we go, right?
(Author’s rant: As cat lovers, we all know there is no way she could smell the cat. Maybe in a house where the cats have been inside for one week with window closed because their human are away on holiday. Yes, you might be able to smell some cat smell in that situation. But this woman was not talking about cat PEE smell, she was talking about the cat body odour (if there is such thing…). Give me a break! ON A PLANE? There are more odour on the plane than the cat!!! People’s fart, dirty seat cover, yucky plane food in the oven heating up, people’s smelly feet, STRONG air freshener to cover the all of the above odour I have just mentioned, come to mind…rant over.)
8. Was it easy? Was it difficult?
It was quite straightforward. But it was my first time so I was pretty stressed out nonetheless…
9. Any further inspection or procedure on arrival before you could take your cat home with you?
No. The Customs staff in Paris didn’t even look at the box.
10. How did your cat react to the journey?
He was happy to be outside and went straight to the litter tray. Then went straight to sleep.
11. How much did it cost in total? Can you provide a break down if you don’t mind?
It was 11 years ago, so I don’t remember accurately. But it was something like:
Rabies shot – 50 Euro
Health Cert – 20 Euro
Government Counter-sign – 10 Euro
Airline fee – 200 Euro
Total = 280 Euro to 300 Euro
12. Any other information you think other cat people should know if they want to do the same journey?
– Make sure to be discreet. There is always one cat hater on board. If you don’t want to get into an argument with people, stay low.
– Prepare ahead if there is a transit. If you need to wait for a long time between flights, ideally you should book a transit hotel room, so the cat can rest a bit and the same for yourself! I wish I had a water bowl and litter tray with me, I didn’t have either.
– Ask for an extra blanket from the flight attendant. You can then cover the carrier, so your cat will sleep during the flight.
Have you made similar journey? Have you travelled with your cat(s) internationally? We need to hear from you. Your stories might give helpful insight to other cat people who are making the same journey. Altogether, we can make effort to make sure less cat(s) left behind. Knowledge is power. You don’t have to worry about the writing. We will send you a questionnaire like the one above, you just need to answer them. Please be in touch!